Lack of UK ....errr... well everything really!

devices
uk

(Craig) #1

Hi All,

So here goes (I’m going to try my best not to rant, honestly I am)

So I am at a bit of a crossroad and need to non-bias opinions (I am going to post on a couple of different forums just incase Smartthings get a little twitchy) but I would love for some actual feedback and positive reinforcement from the ST crew themselves, if thats not too much to ask, given how much the UK market is already neglected.

So my dilemma, I am currently having major renovation works on my house and I at a critical point where I need to make a decision if I stick with Smartthings (Continually hoping that things will get better) or make the move to another system.

Again I know were are all on here as ST users but I also know many of you out there stick with due to the bull ache of changing systems and I am sure there are a fair amount on here that have moved already but remain on here.

I want to go with a system that will allow me to get the most out of my smart tech and not be limited by such a small array of products (UK).
I ‘loathe’ having to do hours and hours of research on a product just to find out if a device type exists for it because Smartthigs have either “No Bothered” or “the one they made lacks most if not All device functionality”

Example - Fibaro Motion sensor, Fibaro Smoke Sensor - both of which the ST supplied DT serves very little in the way of proper functionality.

I keep trying to remind myself how they like to believe their ethics are based on being an open technology, allowing a fast array of hardware and software to work with them, (Certainly not in the UK anyway) but it seems like that have little or no time for the UK which doesn’t make any sense given the potential market. I alone a many friends that want to have a full smart home but I don’t have the passion or confidence to say, “Yeah get Smartthings” I know it will just come back to bite me when they moan that everything is a challenge.

Anyhow back to my question, does anyone have any suggestions of different techs that I could investigate. Ideally options where automated blinds/Curtains and such don’t require weeks of R&D, maybe even plugs that don’t require a bulky adapter (Although this may be asking too much).

As I said, Most of way walls are stripped down and they are installing deep back boxes with 3 wire system and full networking throughout so this I my ideal opportunity to make the right decision moving forward.

Better yet, maybe the ST people can give me some hope (short-term hope) that things are going to change for the UK marketplace.

I look forward to anyones valued feedback.

All the best
Craig


(Robin) #2

We are certainly very limited on device choice here… but ST have zero control over the device market.

I find the Fibaro Dimmer 2 modules work flawlessly for lighting.

And the Fibaro motion sensors and contact sensors are also great.

ST claims to support these natively but as you say, the handlers they provide are lacklustre at best.

Luckily this community has stepped up and you can get custom handlers on here for all of the Fibaro kit that works really well and exposes all of the features.

As to what the future holds… we are all holding our breath right now… looks like Groovy and the existing online interface is on the way out, if not this year probably the next… at which point all the custom handlers we currently use will become useless and we’ll be back to square one hoping someone with the coding skills needed to understand the new (and more complicated) API can create what we need… hobbyist coders like me won’t stand a chance tweaking even the basics!!


(Craig) #3

Evening Robin,

Yeah I agree the FB dimmers work great, I literally have 15 of them sitting in a basket ready to click buy as I’m already running 4 of them plus to older Aeotec on off switches.
They all work flawlessly (not using SmartThings DTs that is)
The Fibaro motion sensors are for sure more tempremental but I have one of 2 running stable.
Really want to get a few of the Aeotec multi sensor 6 but not sure how they will perform even though ST say it’s officially supported I don’t want to get them off most of the functionality is nonexistent which I suspect is the case.

Yeah again another reason why I am so unsure, without the community’s hard work SmartThings wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as it is now (again limited for the UK)


(Darren) #4

I find myself in the same boat (Ireland is worse than the UK, I need to import nearly everything , and that’s before Brexit kicks in :slight_smile: ). My smart house would not exist without the community, as most of my purchases are made in light of feedback from the community and the developed code. Once the new coding practise comes into play, i wonder what, if anything, will work as i’m sure many people will be worn down at that juncture.


(Steve ) #5

While you have access in your house why don’t you feed wiring around and you could then add wired motion sensors, lights etc
I’ve noticed a lot of people changing their wiring to 12-24v and using led lights instead and using something like this to control it.


(Robin) #6

Good point on hard wiring sensors… certainly helps reduce battery changes.

Take a look at this for a ready-to-go option:


(Steve ) #7

Not seen that is that for if you have a compatable system already in place?


(Craig) #8

Morning all, morning Steve

I am going to have a new security system installed to replace the old one that’s been ripped out.

I have accepted a while ago, as have others that SmartThings will never be a default option for real security.
The ADT / SmartThings setup happening in the US is just want I would want but I am simply not willing to wait or bank on something like that EVER happening in the UK (goes back to my original concern of lack of impact and investment in the UK market) so an independent system is the only option there. It’s just annoying that I’m going to end up having twice as many sensors for both the alarm and SmartThings.
I would go for a wired option always but then I know as soon as I start looking around for ones that actually work with SmartThings in any form will turn in to weeks of R&D, with the build moving along swiftly I don’t have that luxury at the moment :tired_face: albeit I’m bored of having to do that every time I want to expand my smart home with ST


(Steve ) #9

Yeah I think even the ADT control panel thing they have is buggy as I’ve seen comments on the Facebook group about it.
I know you’re pushed for time on research but I would be seriously thinking of at least finding out what wiring these things use and getting that installed alongside your normal wiring.
You don’t even have to connect it to anything and if you decide later after research it’s all in place then.
You could stay with SmartThings or go to something like OpenHab or the other open source one (can’t think of the name)
I think the method I linked to above with the Raspberry pi can integrate other Alarm systems and once linked into there it then goes into SmartThings.


(John Crighton) #10

I think I’m pretty happy with supply of things in the UK, and custom DHs obviously. Sure there are more things available in the states, but we also had/have some things before them. Fibaro is Polish, and we had the dimmer 2 years before the states. It’s the only stable module to work well without a neutral (in ST at least) in my experience. Some things we just don’t need here. Ceiling fans, A/C and vents are rarely seen in the UK anyway (as examples).

A note about the Fibaro motion sensor… I’ve been through a few of these. I’ve found that I’ve had to bin 3 or 4 because they were dropped on to hard surfaces. If this happens, they start to report motion regularly, when there is no motion to report. This seems to be a repeatable symptom of a broken one, all of the ones I’ve binned were doing the same thing, all were placed above hard surfaces when they would occasionally get knocked out of their holder.

I’ve replaced all of these, and they’re working very well.

Edit to add: The cost of things here however, is massive and could do with a reduction!


(Robin) #11

Yes and no… it can replace your existing alarm panel, but it can also be used for a new install.

Allows you to use regular (dumb/cheap) sensors and standard alarm wire.


(Steve ) #12

Sounds a good option I’ll have a read of that :slight_smile:


(Steve ) #13

I agree with you about the cost is rediculas.
I need another power plug to try android extend the range to my outside shed but I’m not willing to pay £50 for the SmartThings one.
But I know Amazon often sell them at £26 so no rush.


(Craig) #14

Hi John,

Thanks for the feedback and that’s where my issue is I think, as I do want ceiling fans and AC to be part of my smart home.
I also want to have smart blinds and with the array of VELUXs going in I was desperate to find a solution that worked with SmartThings, even if it meant not having Velux as a brand but I was just hitting dead ends every time.
So another happy medium is that my VELUX windows will be automatic but totally independent of ST.

I been told by a couple of people to consider Control 4 and then by others that it’s too dated now. Ahhh brain fry lol.

Oh yeah, I have destroyed a couple of fibaro motion sensors in the exact same way, it’s that moment when you pick it up and hear that rattle :confounded:


(John Crighton) #15

Craig, I have a few motorised Velux blinds too. It’s not really ST’s fault, as Velux insist on using a closed 433MHz protocol (Somfy), and it will apparently remain closed. Even the Athom Homey, which has a radio for this and hoped to integrate devices like this is yet to succeed. This is a worldwide issue.

Another thing I’d like to see (as I have some!) is a control device for plantation blinds. A company seemed to have the answer a few years back: ShutterEaze, but they dissapeared.


(cjcharles) #16

I built an integration for Visonic Powermax alarm sensors. Its all wireless and the batteries have lasted 3.5 years so far with no problems or replacements yet. I find it gives the perfect balance of proper standalone alarm, easy wireless installation at a decent price (it can be ratified as a full alarm system to reduce house insurance if you have it installed - though you dont need to), and yet all of the sensors can be broken out to separate devices in ST (which then trigger all the motion actions like turning on lights/…


(Robin) #17

For curtains and blinds in the UK, many of the (dumb) motorised tracks have ‘dry contact’ input terminals which can be controlled via a smart relay.

Or if you use a 4-wire curtain motor, you could use the Fibaro roller shutter module giving you true open, closed, %open and stop control.


(Craig) #18

Hi again @John_Crighton

Yeah I done a fair bit of research on Velux thing and I don’t blame SmartThings at all on that, I agree it’s very single minded of them and other to close the doors like they have.

@cjcharles thanks for this info, I am definitely going to have a good read of this, if you don’t mind me asking, is it very stable, eg it doesn’t miss a beat as they say? Also is there much of a delay with things like having the motion sensor trigger a light / door contact notifying on my sonoses that it’s been opened etc.

@RobinWinbourne
Do you have any pointers on where I can go shopping with regards to the 4wire system, ultimately anything I do or integrate I want it to have the maximum usability


(cjcharles) #19

Personally I think it is my most stable integration with ST!

The alarm status and zone status is always correct, I can think of one event it missed in the last few months and that was due to a rebooting router I think. The only downside is that the Motion sensors dont trigger on every motion, they can get up to three triggers over a 5 min period and then they go to sleep for 30mins to save power. (note I am not 100% sure these are the timings, but its very similar to this behaviour if not). Hence it works for an initial trigger, but not so good at knowing about continuous movement, though that doesnt affect me.

The best bit for me is that the alarm is fully integrated and yet standalone at the same time, so that if I do change smart home product in the future I can always tweak the integration/chip and in theory it could send the data to any other smart home product.